Sea of White: Top Five White Out Plays

By John Morgan on October 17, 2019 at 10:00 am
Oct 22, 2016; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Grant Haley (15) reacts against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Ohio State 24-21.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
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It's White Out week! When the Penn State student section declared a whiteout against Purdue in 2004, it gained some steam, but it took a year to really catch on. It was the Phoenix Coyotes whiteout in their first playoff game in 1997 that started the trend, but Penn State has assumed it as their own. The students did it again in 2005 in the classic win over Ohio State and again in 2006 in a loss to Michigan. It wasn't until 2007, when the Nittany Lions hosted Notre Dame, that the full stadium went full-blown white out. We take a look at the five best plays for Penn State in a game that has become one of college footballs favorite traditions.

5. Bill Belton's 4-Ot Touchdown

In any other list, a touchdown to win a four overtime game might rank No. 1. Oddly enough, this wasn't the play of the game, but it was the one that earned Bill O'Brien one of his best victories. Michigan had kicked a field goal to take a 40-37 lead, the Nittany Lions faced a 4th-down call and decided to go. Belton was able to pick up the first down. Penn State got close after a pass interference call and Belton pranced off the edge to for the Nittany Lions win. There were no bowl implications for this one, but based on the euphoric atmosphere that night, it was all any Penn State fan could ask for.

4. Derrick Williams Punt Return vs. Notre Dame

A year after a drubbing in South Bend when Anthony Morelli actually ran an unsuccessful option play, Beaver Stadium was once again rocking and looking to take down the Golden Domers. Trailing 7-0, Notre Dame was forced to punt late in the first quarter. In the first full-stadium whiteout, Williams fielded the punt low, but was able to gather the ball and find some space and he was gone. Notre Dame only manage three more points, and thanks to the dominant play of Aaron Maybin and the Penn State defense, they never looked back en route to a 31-10 win.

3. Allen Robinson "ComeS Down With It"

Back to the 2013 game when Penn State's program was playing for pride. Penn State played a great first half, but Michigan took over in the second half. With just 50 seconds to go and down seven, Penn State got the ball at their own 20. After two completions to Allen Robinson and Brandon Mosbey-Felder, Penn State had the ball at the Michigan 37 with 35 seconds to play. Needing a play, Penn State freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg took a shot deep to Robinson. Robinson leaped over Michigan cornerback Channing Stribling and pulled it in at the 1-yard line. Penn State tied it on the extra point and the rest was history.

2. Tamba Hali Sacks Ohio State's Troy Smith

Though it was only a student whiteout that night, the Nittany Lions ranked No. 16 were poised to declare they were back following the "dark years." With under two minutes to go, the Buckeyes needed a touchdown to tie the game. The Penn State defense had already turned in an historic effort led by linebacker Paul Posluszny. Facing a 2nd-an- 7, Ohio State's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith dropped back and never saw Tamba Hali coming like a freight train across the line. He hit the quarterback and Smith flipped into a headstand as he fumbled. Scott Paxon devoured the fumble and sent the big-win-starved Penn State fans happily into the night.

1. Grant Haley....Will Score

The 2016 Penn State season provided a plethora of improbable plays. The Nittany Lions hosted Ohio State as heavy underdogs, but managed to keep the game close. Facing a 4th-and-7 up four points, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer elected to kick the field goal with "super reliable" Tyler Durbin. Meyer hesitated and rushed the field goal team on the field with under five minutes to play. Ohio State hurried the play and safety Marcus Allen was able to block the kick. The ball took a fortuitous bounce and it was scooped up by Grant Haley. Though he was nearly tracked down by the punter, Haley scored and sent Beaver Stadium into orbit. Penn State held on and went on to win the Big Ten. It's a play that no Nittany Lion fan will ever forget.

Some classic plays in an incredible atmosphere, and when you can't find a spot for an electric Saquon Barkley run against Michigan, or a 93-yard tuddy to KJ Hamler, you know it's a separate beast. Feel free to comment on your favorite whiteout play and if it was a whiteout in 2002, Richard Garner's pick six probably makes the list. 

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